The design and development of a novel extractive electrospray ionisation (EESI) device for on-line reaction monitoring is described. The EESI apparatus uses a secondary, grounded nebuliser to produce an analyte aerosol and a Venturi pump is then used to transfer a sample of the aerosol to an electrospray source where it is ionised. The EESI apparatus was then tested with a variety of small, organic molecules to assess sensitivity, linearity and dynamic range. The performance of the technique will depend on the mass spectrometer used for the experiments; in the configurations used here it has a useable dynamic range of around 3.5 orders of magnitude with a linear range of around 2.5 orders of magnitude and is capable of analysing species present down to low µg/mL with signal-to-noise ratio greater than 2.5. The use of EESI for reaction monitoring was validated using a series of mock reaction mixtures and then used to monitor the base hydrolysis of ethyl salicylate to salicylic acid. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.